Welcome to the can of worms I like to call Channel Training. First off, lets set expectations. Your channel partners/resellers are not on your direct payroll. They are often not going to just sell your wares. You will still need your direct sales force to run the sales process.
With these expectations in mind, I like to keep my channel sales training broad. Topics that need to be covered include:
- Your company history.
Tell them how the company was founded. Talk about your growth rate and strategy going forward.
- Your senior management team.
Introduce your team. Explain what each is responsible for in the company. In person is best but not always a possibility. At least cover their bios.
- Your expected sales process.
Describe a typical sales process for each of the products in your portfolio. Make sure they are aware of any long lead-time items.
- Registering a lead.
Explain the process to register a lead. Make sure they are crystal clear on this. (A good rule to have. If you do not get direct access to the client you will not register them.)
- How to work with a direct sales team member.
Explain the ground rules of working with one of your direct sales team members. Who takes the sales lead and drives the process? Who presents what to the end client?
- Commission schedule.
This is straightforward. Remember the KISS rule.
- Product portfolio.
They can’t sell it if they don’t know you offer it. Explain your complete product offering.
- Product road map. (What’s coming)
Always a good idea to let your channel partners know what is in the works and a expected ETA.
- Walk them through your SLA and Contract.
This is often overlooked and the cause of the greatest heart burns. They do not need to be an expert on your contract but they should be familiar with what you are going to ask their customer to sign. Often this gives them the time they need to prep their client.
- Dispute process.
Should they ever have a dispute over commission or service they need to know that they have a course of resolution. Everyone knows the ground rules.
- Installation procedure.
Walk them through a typical installation for each of your product offerings. No one likes surprises in sales. Least of all a surprise that may delay getting paid.
I know that Channel Sales is a lot of work. But remember it can have a significant impact on your revenue. A 25%-40% Increase is worth the effort! Check back next week as we cover Channel Marketing.